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What ARE these spots, anyway?

I've never heard of a doctor prescribing anti-viral meds for Chicken Pox, but that's what my doc did for my four year old son.

He broke out in spots the other day, which were unlike any I'd seen on him before. He has a history of food sensitivities and rashes, so I wasn't initially concerned. However when they were worse the next day and he hadn't eaten any suspect foods, I took him to our doctor.

For the record, I like this doc. She's always been right (even when I've argued with her and she humours me with further testing, her initially diagnosis always prevails). I thought it was a little odd, though, when she looked at my son's spots, and said "It has an unusual presentation for chicken pox, but everything else fits. We'll assume it is, and put him on anti-viral medication."

A million questions start filling my "can't-leave-anything-alone" mind. When did they start medicating chicken pox? Isn't there a blood test she could have done? Maybe there's something else out there that's nastier that the docs know about but we don't yet that actually warrants an anti-viral prescription? Hmmmm... If it's not chicken pox, what else could it be?

That last question I voiced aloud. Her reply was "it could be an allergic reaction to something."

Uh-huh. My son? Never (insert sarcasm).

When you consider the additional facts that he was vaccinated for chicken pox, and has had no fever OR itching, it becomes even more perplexing that she would prescribe anti-viral meds that have side effects and must be taken for the full course of ten days, much like antibiotics, when it might not even be a virus.

Still love this doc. I think she's great. However, as time goes on, I have less and less faith in our cash strapped and under staffed medical system. A blood test would have incurred cost, after all.

The first pharmacy that I went to couldn't even fill the prescription. "We found a bottle in our Vancouver store, and might be able to have it shipped here by tomorrow."

I took this as a sign (keep talkin' universe ;-) and decided to wait a day and see what happened. I had my husband drive to another pharmacy and fill the prescription just in case (of what I'm not sure) but I held off giving any to my son.

I still haven't given him any, because the next morning (this was yesterday), the spots had faded considerably. Today they're even more faint. In another day or two they'll be completely gone. If it had been chicken pox, the spots would have gotten worse and become pus-filled and blistery.

I'm not sure what the moral of this story is, other than as usual, parenting is filled with occasions when it's hard to know what the right thing to do is. Would it have really been so bad to give him unnecessary drugs? Does he actually have something that's viral but is not chicken pox? Am I over-analyzing it all?


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